Beirut – Postcards From Italy (Tab and Chords)


Beirut – Postcards From Italy (Chords)

Beirut – Postcards From Italy (mp3) via beirutband.com

My recent Fluke acquisition reminded me of the video for Beirut’s Elephant Gun. While I was checking it out, I came across this impromptu performance Postcards From Italy and decided I had to work out the song.

Beirut mainman Zach Condon’s choice of ukulele wasn’t entirely voluntary. In an interview with Pitchfork he explained that after falling of a bridge age 14, “my left wrist is an inch-and-a-half shorter than my [right one] and doesn’t quite have the mobility to wrap around a guitar neck without a bit of pain.” I’d say falling off a bridge was a small price to pay for avoiding the fate of becoming a guitar player.

Postcards From Italy is divided into two halves. The first half has this riff repeated:

Beirut postcards from italy tab ukulele

If you’d rather strum chords through this section, moving between F and A will do it for you.

As the lyrics shift from the nostalgia in the first half of the song to the anticipation of the second half, so the music shifts with it. There is a small correction I would make to the fingering of the chords in the chart. It suggests playing the C chord with your third finger. But using you pinkie (little finger) allows for a much easier transition into the Bbadd9. You could keep your pinky there through all the chords (creating a Dm7 rather than Dm). It creates an effective drone through the chord changes.

The rhythm for this second section is not played the same every time, but I play the basic pattern like this:

Postcards from Italy ukulele tab Beirut strumming pattern

The up arrows indicated down strums and the down arrows indicate up strums (don’t look at me, I didn’t invent the system).

Here’s the rhythm played slowly, then up to tempo.

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63 Comments

  1. Woodshed April 6th, 2012 8:38 am

    Lisa: Have fun with it!

  2. J February 11th, 2013 10:39 pm

    “There is a small correction I would make to the fingering of the chords in the chart.”

    Where’s “the chart?” I don’t see a C chord anywhere.

  3. Woodshed February 12th, 2013 8:05 am

    J: Click the orange box under the video.

  4. Adriatic June 12th, 2013 10:02 pm

    just a small tip/correction, zach plays the very last strum in verses differently so instead of playing

    0000
    1111
    0000
    3202

    you can play

    0000
    1110
    0000
    3200

    same goes for the A chord (you can see this in live videos like red hot + rio etc)

  5. Woodshed June 13th, 2013 9:50 am

    Adriatic: Thanks for the correction.

  6. Justin August 12th, 2013 3:32 pm

    I just wanted to mention the bflat add 9 bit sounds closer as a B-flat major 7 add 9 to my ears not much of a difference difficulty wise but
    sounds much closer to the recording. when I had figured the song out by ear.

  7. justin August 12th, 2013 8:36 pm

    about the previous comment i meant more if you hold down the bflat major 7 with just the pink on the A string instead of doing the bflatadd9 aka the bflat chord with the pink on the a string 3rd fret its easier to switch and flows nicer in that last part rather than wasting your time baring over E and A strings when it doesn’t really do anything and makes the same sound.

  8. justin August 12th, 2013 8:36 pm

    about the previous comment i meant more if you hold down the bflat major 7 with just the pink on the A string instead of doing the bflatadd9 aka the bflat chord with the pink on the a string 3rd fret its easier to switch and flows nicer in that last part rather than wasting your time baring over E and A strings when it doesn’t really do anything and makes the same sound.

  9. justin August 12th, 2013 9:04 pm

    also it almost sounds like the start of that last part is a very fast hammer on from bflat major 7 to the bflat add 9 again this is all pretty much the same thing but its a little subtle thing i noticed in the song.

  10. ola September 22nd, 2013 11:58 pm

    (not sure if i just missed it in the comments but) Right before he switches to the second half, and right after all the F and A hammer on stuff, he seems to do the hammer on stuff twice but with higher chords. Does anyone know what chords these are or how to play them? Or any really close-up clear video where i could learn it? Thanks!!!

  11. Esther November 25th, 2013 9:08 am

    ola: he plays a f/c chord twice before the second half of the song. So in the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYiCGLgRuAs at 1:53 he does the f hammer on twice, then at 1:58 he just adds the c to it.

    I’m still having trouble with the strumming pattern on the second part. I keep wanting to throw more strums in but it doesn’t sound quite right. I know Zach switches it up and throws in whatever and it sounds amazing. Here’s my favorite version someone else did. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybhVsZHnC7k I would love to get her strumming pattern down. Even with the slow-motion youtube setting, the video isn’t close enough for me to catch it well. Anyone else have any thoughts?

  12. Rebekah Stone November 13th, 2015 4:21 pm

    I love these tabs/chord pieces because you can play with multiple ukuleles. This song sounds especially nice.

  13. Woodshed November 13th, 2015 6:45 pm

    Rebekah: Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.

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